Monday, 14 September 2015

A Short Break on the French Mediterranean

Many people may think we are a bit mad, this is because, just recently, we packed up our little sports car, left our lovely old watermill  and went camping on the French Mediterranean.

I suppose on first impressions that may seem a bit mad, leaving all that comfort, a swimming pool and country scenery behind to go and sleep on an airbed in a tent.

But there was method behind our madness. First of all being away from home with no internet access meant that there was no way we could slip into work mode and ensured that we did actually have a little break.

Secondly, we opted to take the scenic route to the Mediterranean, heading off to Limoux, then Quillan and finally along the Gorge de Agly (D117). A beautiful route with no time pressure and the opportunity to enjoy the trip, the scenery and even a little picnic in a gorgeous location next to the River Aude.

That is a bottle of shandy in the photo by the way, we were driving after all.

Taking that route you go right through Cathare territory, passing by the Chateaus de Puilaurens, Peyrepertuse and Queribus en route. You can have a look at this map for more information on the location of the Cathare Fortresses.

Our ultimate location was of course the French Mediterranean and one of our favourite little places to visit, Leaucate Plage.

We chose the campsite called 'Camping Cap Leaucate' because it was located virtually on the beach and was still only about a twenty minute walk from Leaucate village for restaurants in the evening. There are restaurants at Leaucate Plage as well, but being September the choice was a bit limited.

It wasn't long after arrival that the tent was up, we were set for the evening and we could go off to meet some friends at Canet En Roussillon. But not before ensuring we had some nice croissants for breakfast the next morning and something for lunch on the beach, courtesy of a very handy supermarket between Leaucate Village and Leaucate Plage.

Canet turned out to be a lively little town with live music in the 'Grande Place', right on the sea front, which also turned out to be a great place to chose a restaurant for an evening meal. Our little break was off to a great start and the accommodation was actually less expensive per night than the dog kennel where our dog Charlie was staying for a few days :-)

The next day, as we had promised ourselves, was to be a whole day lazing on the beach, picnicking and swimming in the Mediterranean. The weather was gorgeous and we just completely chilled out. To top the day off we had a cold beer in a bar on the beach before heading back to camp for a shower, brush up and getting dressed for dinner.

We did take a quick look at the restaurants in Leaucate Plage, but there was only one open so we decided to head into town where there was much more choice.

Plus there was the added bonus of the sun setting over the lake as we walked along the promenade. Incidentally, when the sun sets in September, it is probably a good idea to have a fleece or something light to pop on, because it can get a little nippy, not bad but a bit.

We actually really enjoyed the walk, it was a lovely evening and we had had a pretty lazy day all in all. So a bit of exercise was a good idea and we could also convince ourselves we had earned our meal for the evening. We chose El Chupito 'La Table de Lily' for our meal and that turned out to be a great choice, lovely food and wine with a very nice young lady looking after us.

After a suprisingly good night's sleep, perhaps we had a little more wine than we should have done, we woke for our last day at Leaucate Plage. The weather had turned a little cloudy, which was unlucky because it was the only day of the week that there were clouds. So after a quick change of plan, we decided to head towards Narbonne and see if we could find a little sunshine. We did eventually, when we got back to Le Moulin, but on route we took a look at Peyriac de Mer, which is a stunning little town near Bages and then tried our luck at Gruissan Plage. But it was not to be, the cloud persisted and we decided to pass on another beach day and headed inland.

All was not lost however because once we were the other side of Narbonne we spotted a sign to the 'Abbaye de Frontfroide' and thought why not? A drive through the Corbieres wine region taking in Frontfroide, Lagrasse and Carcassonne. Seemed like the perfect way to end our little break to the Mediterranean also this is a section of the famous 'Route 20' wine tour through the Corbieres and of course Carcassonne is our nearest big city and the home of 'La Cite' a UNESCO World Heritage site. So you know it is not going to be too shabby a trip home.

So there you have it, our little break to the Mediterranean, of course we can do all of this in a day trip and we often do. But it was very nice to have a couple of nights in the great outdoors, even if my back did complain for a few days after, and to enjoy a little more of this fantastic place we live in. 

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